1953 Fiat 8V Series 1 BerlinettaCoachwork by Fiat Carrozzerie Speciali
The FIAT 8V or Otto Vu was a sports car named after its unusual V8 engine and probably the fastest two-litre granturismo available in the early fifties. Produced for just two years (1952-54) in 114 examples and two series it is the most coveted of all post-war FIAT models. Although Zagato and others produced bodies for this advanced chassis FIAT built the first 34 examples of the 8V in its prototype shop, welding panels to the tubular frame (designed by Dante Giacosa) to produce a stiff semi monocoque. Combined with the free revving engine this created a car that was immediately a favourite of the ‘Gentleman Drivers’ in the Italian championship where it proved highly competitive against the contemporary Lancia Aurelia and Alfa 1900 coupés, winning events long after it was withdrawn from production. 118mph from two litres proved that the distinctive two seater bodywork designed by Fabio Rapi was as slippery as it looked; the Series 2 version gained twin headlamps, presaging American styling trends. With independent suspension at both ends (a first for FIAT) handling was excellent too.
Originally liveried in Verde Mare (sea green) and first registered with Bologna plates (BO 60218) to one Rinaldo Marangani, this early 8V raced in 1954 in the Italian ‘Campionato Automobilistico delle Università’ driven by Achille Rossi, winning the 2000cc class.
By 1968 chassis ‘000027’ had been taken off the road. It sat for years and was acquired in a sorry state by the current owner, a longstanding Italian collector and gentleman driver, in the 1990s. Nearly €150,000 has been subsequently spent on the restoration with specialists Torelli (for the mechanics) and Diomante (for the bodywork). The car’s engine (no. 000082) is of the correct type but originated in another 8V with extensive period racing history, and the gearbox is a synchromesh five-speed for ease of use; the FIAT ‘box is supplied. A quantity of unrestored original parts accompanies the car.
The immaculate 8V completed a 1,000km round trip to Sicily without mishap despite torrential conditions and is reported to drive impeccably. It has recently been the subject of a major feature article in Routeclassiche, the leading Italian classic car journal, and is currently undergoing inspection by ASI, Italy’s highest classic car certification authority, for the release of its FIVA passport. It is Italian road registered and ready to be enjoyed.